stylised picture of a gardenia flower closeup in a soft focus

Gardenias again

I wrote this piece of flash fiction after I’d been given ‘a prompt’. A writing prompt’s a word or phrase  intended to stimulate a story or a poem. The prompt I was given was the phrase ‘Gardenias again’. I’ve always loved noir fiction and this scenario below came into my mind from somewhere out in the ether

It was past my usual finish time, when I wearily climbed the stairs to my apartment. The Soames woman stepped out of her door, catching me in the hall like a piranha.

“Did you come home for lunch today, Mr Harris?  I heard you singing along to the radio. Quite a nice voice, dearie.” She dropped a plastic charity sack to leave for collection sometime maybe never.

I thought about the windows I once broke caterwauling at the Glee Club, and said “No time for lunch today.  We were closing a big deal and the owner asked us to work through. Said he’d see us all right at the end of the month though.”

Mrs Soames frowned, and shook her head at my masochistic attitude to nutrition,  retreating back to her apartment, like a gnarled turtle to its shell.

Someone’d stamped out a half-smoked Black Sobranie outside my door.  “Damn’ postmen … paid too much these days.”  I grumbled. “That and their elastic bands everywhere. Goddamn Sumatra’s gone broke ‘cos of them.”

I was really enjoying being a crusty old guy these days.

Opening the front door I realised, must have left the hall light on before walking out this morning.  I hung my coat on the hall stand, dropped my case and headed for the drinks trolley, like a fish looking for water.

“My usual, bartender.”

Funny thing… not like me to leave a drink unfinished, but there was a glass with a half inch of bourbon still hanging around on the trolley. Could I afford to ditch even a half inch of old bourbon? Didn’t smell the same when it was left out all day but whatever way you drank it, it was still bourbon. Down the hatch.

After filling a new one with a couple more fingers of the good stuff, I left the old glass in the kitchen for the maid to sort out.

Yeah that’s right… me, the next time I wash up.

I pride myself on my nose. (I know, it’s big enough – there, I thought I’d say it before you did), but in spite of having started in on the Woodford Reserve, a pretty fragrant brew in itself, I was sure I could maybe smell gardenias.

“Reminds me of the perfume Jane used to wear”. It had crossed my cerebral cortex before I had a chance to stop it.

I hadn’t opened any of the windows yet, not even the French ones. So it couldn’t be the smell of flowers drifting in. Then, just as quickly, it was gone, like cigarette smoke in an afternoon breeze. I hunted high and low with my famed nose, but no gardenias anymore. I reasoned it was better to have loved ’em and lost ’em than never to have smelled ’em at all. I’m like that. Pragmatic. All the way down the line.

After a TV dinner and a half bottle of good ole Mister Montepulciano, I went to turn in.  I dunno… all work, and no play these days.

Would you believe the maid hadn’t put my spare toothbrush back in the bathroom cabinet after that last work trip to St Louis? There it was on the washstand, like I’d used it this morning. But I hadn’t. Weird stuff happening round here.

Can’t understand this drop in my usual household standards.  I’m usually quite a ‘together’ guy.

Folks’ll be phoning the Good Housekeeping Institute if I don’t clean up my act soon.

© adewils 2018

If you enjoyed this post you might enjoy another weird story featuring a hot chihuahua, About 35°C in the shade






2 responses to “Gardenias again”

  1. roy Avatar

    Hi Adrian, Thanks for including me in your literary circle…………Wot is a Peasant like me doing here?? out of my depth!!……….I was just getting into the mystery and really intrigued, when I ran out of words. I’ve read it 3 or 4 time and looked all over for the rest of the story but suspect now that you’re teasing and there is no more, and it’s me that was missing the point. I reeely want to know whoooodunnit, how’s me chances?? . Rgds Roy


    1. AdeWils Avatar

      Thanks for your comment, Roy. ‘Gardenias Again’ is a piece of flash fiction. Wikipedia says ‘Unlike a vignette, flash fiction often contains the classic story elements: protagonist, conflict, obstacles or complications, and resolution. However, unlike a traditional short story, the limited word length often forces some of these elements to remain unwritten – that is, hinted at or implied in the written storyline.’

      So you said ‘where’s the rest?’. The rest comes under ‘hinted at or implied in the written storyline’. In other words, there isn’t anymore 🙂 There might be one day, then again there mightn’t, if I don’t do anything else with it.


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